Etiquetteer has to attend a funeral tomorrow. And Etiquetteer will be wearing a light blue seersucker suit with a very bright-colored bow tie and white bucks. All with Perfect Propriety. How, readers might ask, is this possible? All the world knows that Etiquetteer only permits plain black at a funeral. And indeed, in the (hopefully) distant year when Etiquetteer is called by Divine Providence to a Just Reward, Etiquetteer will expect everyone to appear at the memorial service in black relieved only by faint touches of white and perhaps violets. (The combination of black and purple symbolizes triumph over Death, which Etiquetteer learned reading the biography of that outrageous, addled Muse of the Modern, the Marchesa Luisa di Casati, Infinite Variety.)
So how on earth can Etiquetteer permit himself to appear Improperly dressed at something as important as a funeral? Because something more important has come into play: the wish of the deceased.Now admittedly there's a risk of showing up in black at a funeral these days anyway; a lady might be mistaken for a bridesmaid. But in this case the deceased made his wishes very clear in advance that no black was to be worn at the funeral or the after-party. (Please note the substitution of "after-party" for "wake.") And not to honor such a request would show disrespect. Under these particular circumstances, gentlemen who own only dark suits can compromise by wearing very bright ties.
Now don't be mistaken. Etiquetteer always casts a weather eye on monkeying with tradition, although requests that were considered outrageous decades ago now seem to be accommodated easily. When Alice de Janzé, one of the Earl of Erroll's many lovers, finally committed suicide successfully in 1941, she asked her friends to hold a cocktail party at her grave. Etiquetteer assumes that dear Alice's wish was not fulfilled, but these days others might take it up willingly (pending cemetery regulations).
Burying someone in her favorite nightgown should be taken care of with no concern for the proprieties. Burying someone in his or her favorite automobile, on the other, is taking things a bit too far.
And speaking of what to wear, the Flint (Michigan) police department is now cracking down on saggy pants. The Lansing State Journal reported last month that Police Chief David Dicks considers this a "national nuisance" and has set forth a series of punishments depending on the degree or flesh and underwear exposed. Read all about it here:
While Etiquetteer certainly can't consider this (now happily outdated) fashion trend "immoral self expression," it's Perfectly Improper and should be stopped. But a better solution might just be to depants them all in front of their parents.